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Digestive Disease Quality Improvement

Otto Lin, MD, and Jae Myong Cha, MD
Director Otto Lin, MD, (right) with Jae Myong Cha, MD, visiting scholar from Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gang Dong, University of Kyung Hee School of Medicine in Seoul, Korea.

In addition to its focus on multidisciplinary care and research, the Digestive Disease Institute is committed to improving the health and well-being of the patients we serve through multiple quality improvement initiatives. Led by Director of Quality, Otto Lin, MD, these initiatives have drawn world wide attention to standard-setting care pathways and excellent survival outcomes for colon, esophageal and pancreatic cancer patients at Virginia Mason.

Providers at the Digestive Disease Institute are constantly pursuing quality improvement. Current initiatives include:

  • Developing and implementing protocols for enhancing follow-up care for liver and colon disease screening
  • Collecting and analyzing data on colonoscopy completion rate for screening and surveillance patients
  • Examining polyp (adenoma) detection rates for screening and surveillance patients, currently at 31.93 percent
  • Collecting and analyzing data on blood and lab values for patients with inflammatory bowel disease
GI cancer cases by year
Volume of GI Cancer Cases by Year (Click on image to enlarge.) Source: Comprehensive Hospital Abstract Reporting System (CHARS)

Often, analysis of data leads to new discoveries in digestive disease care, results in publication of findings from Digestive Disease Institute providers, and produces opportunities to benchmark ourselves according to local and national patient care volumes and standards. According to the Comprehensive Hospital Abstract Reporting System (CHARS), the team at Virginia Mason has treated a significantly higher number of GI cancer patients compared to other high-volume medical institutions in Washington state. Studies have shown that hospitals that treat a higher number of GI cancer patients have better outcomes.

Collecting and analyzing data in well-designed prospective and retrospective databases supports Digestive Disease Institute providers in making evidence-based decisions about frequency and type of treatment, facilitating innovative modes of therapy, and improving the care and experience of the patient. Data in current databases is used to study how to best address and treat:

  • Bariatric Complications
  • Barrett's Esophagus
  • Cirrhosis and Cirrhosis Screening
  • Colorectal Cancer and Colorectal Cancer Screening
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Paraesophageal and Hiatal Hernias

For more information about quality improvement initiatives at the Digestive Disease Institute, please call (206) 223-2319.